WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration issued a proposed rule for the sanitary transportation of food on Jan. 31. The rule will require certain shippers of food to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transportation.

“This proposed rule will help reduce the likelihood of conditions during transportation that can lead to human or animal illness or injury,” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “We are now one step closer to fully implementing the comprehensive regulatory framework for prevention that will strengthen the FDA’s inspection and compliance tools, modernize oversight of the nation’s food safety system, and prevent foodborne illnesses before they happen.”

The proposed rule creates criteria for the sanitary transportation practices, such as proper refrigeration, adequately cleaning vehicles and protecting food during transportation. Specifically, the proposal would create requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment; transportation operations; information exchange, which includes information regarding prior cargos and carrier cleaning; personnel training; and records. The records portion of the proposal will require the maintenance of written procedures and records by carriers and shippers related to transportation equipment cleaning, prior cargos, and temperature control.

The rule as it is proposed would apply to shippers, carriers, and receivers who transport food that will be consumed or distributed in the United States and is intended to ensure that persons engaged in the transportation of food that is at the greatest risk for contamination during transportation follow appropriate sanitary transportation practices. The proposal would not cover shippers, receivers, or carriers engaged in food transportation operations that have less than $500,000 in total annual sales. In addition, the requirements in the proposal would not apply to the transportation of fully packaged shelf-stable foods, live food animals, and raw agricultural commodities when transported by farms.

The FDA is proposing staggered implementation dates for the proposed rule based on business size, ranging from one to two years after publication of the final rule.

The proposed rule may be viewed by clicking here.